Preface: One of our long standing traditions at Shuttleworth Foundation gatherings is several late nights playing Werewolf – not especially unique but massively fun and wonderful for the camaraderie of the group. With travel and in-person events on hold due to current events we transitioned to online sessions for the event, but struggled with the loss of the social accompaniments. As self appointed God of Werewolf for the group, I took it upon myself to find a way to make this work with players in different physical locations. I found a number of people have also tried this, but their instructions were convoluted and obnoxious, so we hacked them apart and tried something new and it worked great, so I thought I’d share how that worked so that someone else can find these instructions and decide they suck and then write their own.
Caveats: If you are reading this I’m going to assume you already know how to play Werewolf so I’m not going to get into the weeds on that. I will say that when I moderate (aka, play God) I prefer the basic standard roles – werewolves, villagers, a doctor and a seer. I find that keeping it simple allows for maximum enjoyment for players and spectators, if you prefer adding what my friend Harper eloquently refers to as Micky Mouse roles, then this method might not work for you.
Also: This method uses Slack and Zoom, because we already use Slack and Zoom so I can attest this works with Slack and Zoom. If you use some other video conference & team communication platforms this may or may not work for you – you’ll just have to figure it out.
- Everyone turn OFF cameras and MUTE microphones.
- Roles will be assigned via SLACK messaging by God.
- God will set up a group private on SLACK with all werewolves.
- God will communicate with DOCTOR and SEER individually via Slack
- Game begins: Everyone turn ON your camera, but remain MUTED.
- God explains how this shit works… Daytime!
- Villagers UNMUTE and commence ye old chit chat.
- Nighttime: Turn OFF cameras and MUTE microphones.
- God interacts with individual people via Slack, the group via Zoom.
- Daytime: Turn ON cameras and UNMUTE microphones.
- If you are killed, turn OFF your camera and MUTE your microphone, leave them off until the round is finished.
- Wolves: If you are killed DO NOT CHAT in the private group. You can watch the discussion, but you are dead so do not fucking chime in.
- DEAD people can chat in a #werewolf channel on Slack
- The round ends when one of the following things happens:
- Werewolves out number villages – WEREWOLVES WIN!
- The last werewolf is killed by the villagers – VILLAGERS WIN!
More details: Set up
God (aka the Moderator) needs to be the host on Zoom. This allows absolute control and the ability to mute, kill, remove etc anyone at any time for any reason and that’s an important power to wield over the cowering masses you’ve roped into playing this game for your own amusement.
In Zoom, use GRID view and have all players begin with their cameras turned off and microphones muted. At the start only God should be seen and heard.
God should have a piece of paper handy and write down all the players and assign each one of the roles. Then, via Slack direct messaging tell each player their role. I can not stress this enough: DO NOT use the messaging in Zoom. It’s way too easy to accidentally send a message to the wrong person, way too complicated to switch between people and generally a pain in the ass. Using a separate application that handles that better is the way to go. Also on slack you should have a #werewolf channel where everyone who isn’t playing or who has just been killed can hang out. You should also create Direct Message group with only the werewolves which is where they will discuss who to kill each night.
Once God has assigned roles and set up the private chat for the wolves, the game can begin. God should remind everyone how the game works and then instruct everyone to turn on their cameras and microphones. Daytime in the village!
I don’t recommend villagers are made to kill anyone on the first day, instead it’s a good time to drum up fear and panic about the horrible death and suffering that people have heard about happening in nearby villages.
Nighttime in the village! All players turn off their cameras and mute microphones. This ensures no meta-gaming resulting from someone peeking or saying they thought they heard someone typing when God asked the wolves who they wanted to kill.
God should keep camera and microphone on, and ask wolves, doctor and seer questions through Zoom – but they should respond on Slack.
Once it’s clear who didn’t survive the night, God can announce who is dead, and instruct everyone EXCEPT that person to turn back on their cameras and microphones. Dead people can keep watching and chatting in Slack, but under no circumstances should they turn back on their camera or microphone for the remainder of that game.
Rounds can last as long as God feels like, with full license to end a day if the village gets too boring. God is free to kill anyone at any time for any reason. If at any point the Werewolves out number villages then the Werewolves will win. Alternatively, if and when the last werewolf is killed by the villagers then the villagers win.
We tried this, it worked wonderfully. Give it a shot, adjust anything you want to, and stay vigilant.